Earlier this week I put the call out asking for your suggestions for my running post this week. One of the questions was so timely, I knew it would be the post for this week.
When you are feeling pain, when to know to step back or If it’s mild enough or when it’s safe to push through.
I spent quite a bit of time in 2015 debating this myself, and after a physio appointment yesterday, it seemed especially fitting to discuss in detail.
When to Run
Knowing when it’s okay to run is super important as you’ll be able to keep up with your training and maintain your base fitness.
It’s (generally) okay to run if:
- Any kind of niggle gets better from the start of the run to 10 minutes in
- You have slight discomfort after a run that goes away within 2-12 hours (without any kind of anti-inflammatory drugs)
- The discomfort is akin to feeling like a tight muscle
- The discomfort doesn’t get better with rest, or worse with activity (though I highly recommend seeing a physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor in this instance just to be on the safe side)
I find I often second guess myself when it comes to minor discomfort because what if it gets worse?! In this case, I’ll drop the intensity of my workouts, and take a rest day in between until I’m confident running isn’t making the pain worse.
When to Rest
Knowing when to rest can sometimes be more difficult to determine since as runners, we all want to run. I know I’m more scared that I’m being too cautious than being too aggressive.
Here’s how I determine if I need to rest more than one day, or it it’s time to pay my physio a visit:
- The pain worsens throughout the duration of the run
- The pain doesn’t get better within a few hours of finishing the run
- The pain is worse at night (this can be an indication of a stress fracture)
- The pain is sharp and acute, or suddenly goes from no pain to sharp pain
- You notice pain while, walking, or sitting (if it hurts to walk, you probably shouldn’t run)
- Ice, elevation, and ibuprofen don’t help with the pain
When I started running earlier this month, I noticed a mild pain in my knee. It got to the point where I mentioned it to both my chiropractor and my massage therapist. My RMT poked around the area I said was feeling off, and she mentioned it felt weird. Well, that was enough for me to want to rest (I also had pain while walking) and book in to see my physiotherapist.
We think the issue is still related to my weak glutes and overall imbalance when I run, so we did some IMS in my hip and glute (compared to my calves, this was virtually pain-free) and I’m cleared to try a nice and easy run on Saturday. Since I was just easing myself back into running, I thought it best to nip it in the bud, rather than trying to push through and hope it gets better (something so many runners do!).
Returning to Running
I think the hardest part after taking any time off for an injury, is knowing how to ease back in.
I know I regularly will compare my current ability to my past ability, and assume that because I was running 5k without walk breaks before, I should do that now.
This is wrong.
I had prepared myself a program based upon time, and while I still plan on following this approach, I’m also going to be including run/walk intervals, just to be sure I’m not pushing too hard.
If you’re returning from injuring, or even a minor injury break (like my one week) I strongly suggest taking things slower than you think you should.
[Tweet “Runners: how do you decide when you’re okay to run, and when you need to rest? #runchat “]
What are your tips for knowing when you can run and when you should rest?
Thinking Out Loud with Amanda.
Disclaimer: Posts may contain affiliate or referral links. Your support is appreciated. Thank you!